Meet the Head: Hugh Cocke of Brambletye prep school, East Grinstead
PUBLISHED: 00:42 09 February 2012 | UPDATED: 21:01 20 February 2013
Hugh Cocke is retiring after 15 years as Headmaster of Brambletye prep school, East Grinstead. He won the Tatler Award for Best Head of a Prep School 2011. Here he tells us a little more about himself
How long have you been Head and where were you previously?
I have spent 15 happy years at Brambletye as Headmaster and will be retiring at the end of this academic year. Previously I was Headmaster for six years at Old Buckenham Hall, Ipswich, Suffolk. I have spent my entire teaching career in prep schools as I started my teaching career at the Old Malthouse, Swanage, Dorset and Cheam, Newbury, Berkshire. It was a great honour for all the team at Brambletye when I won the Tatler Award for Best Head of a Prep School 2011.
If you hadnt become a teacher, what would you have done instead?
I was encouraged to go into teaching by both my Housemaster at School and my father. This is a decision I have never regretted. If I had not gone into teaching, I would never have met my wife, Lucy. However, I would have made a very happy farmer as I have a deep love of the countryside and all things rural. If I had to choose one particular area of farming, I would opt to be a dairy farmer on the Dorset coast which is where I will be spending my retirement.
Was there any type of dinner that you couldnt stand?
I enjoyed most school meals which is probably why I am able to eat virtually everything today. My only bad experience was when I was made to eat tripe and onions and semolina at one sitting, both of which I hope never to eat again!
What were your favourite lessons at school?
English and European History. Both these subjects have given me a love of visiting ancient buildings, museums and galleries, and reading. My ambition is to visit all the cathedrals in the UK, half of which I have visited already. I am looking forward to my retirement when I will have more time to pursue my favourite pastimes.
So, your Desert Island Disc..?
Harry Judd, winner of Strictly Come Dancing, was one of my ex pupils so I should really choose a track by McFly but I am sad to admit that I cannot name one of their songs. My choice would be Miserere Mei, Deus by Gregorio Allegri sung by the Choir of St. Johns, Cambridge as it reminds me of our times in Suffolk when we regularly visited the Chapel at St. Johns.
What is your favourite film?
My favourite film of all time is The English Patient set during World War II. It ts a story of love, fate, misunderstanding and healing. Its the kind of film you can see twice first for the questions, the second time for the answers. I love the fact that the film represents everything that is good about British-made films.
How do you like to relax?
Golf, Wincanton on a windswept afternoon, music, theatre, and county cricket. I love walking our dog, Monty, on the Ashdown Forest and South Downs. I thoroughly enjoy being Master of Golf and playing matches with my pupils on various Sussex golf courses.
If you were Prime Minister for one day, what is the first thing you would do?
There are so many dangers associated with using the internet and measures should be put in place to protect children. It is vitally important to make parents aware of these dangers, especially due to the increase in social networks and cyber bullying. Id personally like to see that children have a better understanding about the importance of why strict rules need to be in place.